Yesterday, after a three day working respite in Gorham, Maine, we once again braved the interstates and pointed Charley’s schnoz south exactly one month from when we had arrived in Maine. Our basic goals for the day were simple: 1) Avoid tangling with Boston traffic like the plague and 2) Get to Walden Pond State Reserve near Concord, Massachusetts, after having presumably achieved goal number one. We managed both relatively handily along with a bonus of achieving a third-that-week stop at a coffee shop we had recently fallen in love with.
Bellies full of scrumptious breakfast sammies and coffee, and excited to go hike off some of our indulgences in a notoriously lovely and pristine place, we dutifully paid our entrance fee and parked in a blissfully desolate lot only to discover that in the proprietors’ efforts to better celebrate the life of a naturalist like Thoreau and educate people about conservation, they were in the process of leveling a large chunk of the protected woods to build a new, state-of-the-art visitor’s center. Oh, boy.
After having a bit of a chuckle at the irony and wondering at the necessity with the existing facilities looking to be in decent shape, we wandered a short distance down toward Walden Pond and came upon the replica of Thoreau’s cabin (apparently no one thought to preserve the original) and got to appreciate the feel of one of the predecessors of the modern tiny house.
Finally, after crossing a busy road, we wended our way down to Thoreau’s pond and beheld astonishingly clear water, a few swimmers making us feel bad about our breakfast choices, and a refreshingly sparse quantity of fellow tourists.
After fully circumnavigating the pond and visiting the site of the original cabin, as well as hiking around the woods trails a bit, we decided to cruise over to Flint’s Pond in nearby Lincoln, MA, which Thoreau mentioned in Walden and which now abuts the deCordova Sculpture Park. There was no one about to collect the exorbitant visitation fees, so we availed ourselves of a magical, canopied path down to the pond and checked out the installations in blissful relative solitude.
Whatever word describes both awe and serenity, this is that.
The last few are without captions intentionally because, well, it’s art, and individual interpretation is the loveliest aspect of it as far as I am concerned. Also, I might have gotten tired of coming up with witty/creative captions by this point in the photo essay…
Picture and path poaching done, we decided that we wanted to beat evening traffic to our destination in Sharon, MA, where we were being graciously welcomed on short notice by our recently made friends Patti and Greg and Patti’s mom, Dianne. Google Maps had a hilarious way of helping us avoid highways, and thus traffic, by diverting us down every narrow, winding road through every ritzy neighborhood it could possibly find. I’m fairly certain the cops were called by more than one homeowner to report the suspicious looking (read: not late model/European/piloted by a grimacing, perfectly coiffed soccer mom) vehicle prowling past their anal retentively manicured lawns. Oh, well. Charley amiably ambles where he is driven and eventually we found our way to the home of some of the sweetest, most generous folks we have had the good fortune of meeting in recent memory, and proceeded to have a grand old time chatting and enjoying good company and refreshments late into the night before we all remembered our obligations for the following day and retired.
This morning found Lance and I snoozing late and scrambling to make our appointment for a tire rotation and a simultaneous Ikea visit before we headed on to Cape Cod for a little more work/downtime in our efforts to balance keeping sanity on the road with still having a framework and a sense of purpose from which to plan our next steps and draw our ultimate conclusions about what all of this has meant.
There is much more to be contemplated and written about, and then contemplated some more. And I know I have alluded more than once of late to the fact that I am questioning so much about everything fundamental to who I am and my purpose in terms of making a living, a term which I mean in many more senses than monetary. But tonight as I finish these thoughts, one in particular keeps occurring to me. It is the thought of passion and how to embrace and coalesce the things I am most passionate about, which are never outside the realm of creating and sustaining. I love the most basic elements of life. The things which nourish us and make us healthy and whole, as well as bring us pleasure. I love the dirt, the air, the sun, the water, and the plants that come from the perfect marriage of those things. I love taking those very basic, yet infinitely complex, plants (and some animal bits) and melding them artfully into something beautiful, and aromatic, and delicious to sustain and give pleasure to myself and others.
I used to say that I didn’t want to cook for a living because I didn’t want to ruin something I love. But I think this thing for both of us has always been about ignoring cautionary tales and avoiding pigeonholing ourselves and doing things on our own terms. And if you take that approach to everything, how can you fall out of love with that which you are truly passionate about and doing on your terms?